The Heeple project

Village doctor resurrected in digital form

Heeple aims to improve the public health in vulnerable communities in India.

In India, 5,8 millioner people die every year due to noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The majority of these people are never diagnosed nor receive the correct treatment.

In close cooperation with Rural Health Progress TrustHeeple will explore the possibility of improving the situation in India.  We will equip small villages with a digital health package, that educates and empowers people to actively prevent, diagnose and treat local residents who otherwise have no access to doctors or hospitals. The digital health package will contain measuring devices in the form of a blood pressure monitor, a blood glucose meter, a microscope and a simple app for decision support. The app will interact with the measuring equipment and advise the user about diagnosis and optimal treatment of diseased village citizens. All this with a focus on optimizing the individual’s overall quality of life and take control of their chronic condition.

Initially, the project will be launched in the cities of Latur, Aurangabad and Hyderabad. More ambitious plans for a major national roll-out in India are scheduled for later in 2017 in close cooperation with our local partner RHPT.

Focus

NCD is an abbreviation for noncommunicable diseases and is a common term for the following chronic diseases; diabetes, cancer, pulmonary and cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization, these diseases are responsible for the deaths of 38 million people around the world every year.

People in the poorest countries are particularly vulnerable to noncommunicable diseases and the access to help is often very complicated or not available. Pertaining to World Health Organisation, 5,8 million people die every year in India from noncommunicable diseases.

Hypertension is today the most prevailing chronic disease in India.

Hypertension also referred to as high blood pressure, is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against the artery walls is so high that it causes serious health problems.

Many people live with high blood pressure for years without any symptoms or pain. Even with no symptoms, the high pressure damages blood vessels as well as the heart. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Hypertension is by far the most important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease later in life.

In the year 2000, more than 118 million people suffered from hypertension in India. By 2025 this number is expected to increase to 214 million people. In 2014 alone, 1,1 million Indians died due to complications caused by high blood pressure. This corresponds to 10,8% of all deaths in the country. Especially the isolated areas of India are affected, as only 1 in 4 know they suffer from hypertension. Consequently, early diagnosis is very important in order to initiate the best treatment of hypertension to prevent development of cardiovascular disease.

Historically, diabetes has been seen as a disease in rich people in high income countries.

Historically, diabetes was known as a disease which mainly affected the rich people in the Western part of the world. Today diabetes type 2 is a global lifestyle-related pandemic which targets the whole world. Statistics from WHO show that 80% of all diabetes-related deaths occur in low-and-middle-income countries. This shows that the poorest countries are very vulnerable when it comes to diabetes. Numbers from 2015 shows that 415 million people worldwide suffers from diabetes – a number which will continue to increase.  In 2040 it is estimated that 123,5 million people will have diabetes and that 1 in 10 of all diabetes-related deaths occur in low-and-middle-income countries.

Diabetes is one of the most significant risk factors for development of cardiovascular disease, eye disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, and the premature deaths of millions of people.